Tax happy Professor James Maule has finally extricated himself from the dark side. Today at his blog Mauled Again he admits that there are limits to taxation.
In the current atmosphere of anti-taxation sentiment, opposition to tax increases, and efforts to curtail government, it was surprising but very telling that the coach of the University of Alabama football team proposed, according to this story, that “one option to address the Penn State tragedy might be a ticket tax on athletic events and giving the proceeds to child-abuse funds.”
Saban’s precise words, “Maybe they ought to tax all the tickets that they sell on athletics” clarifies that his proposal did not reach beyond Penn State ticket transactions.
Details aside, Saban’s proposal is unsound. If the tax is paid by the ticket purchasers, it puts an economic burden on people who did not commit the crimes in question, and did not engage in the behavior that contributed to the wrongdoing. If the tax is paid by the University, it would ultimately be paid by some combination of students through tuition, alumni through contributions, and taxpayers through state grants. Again, its incidence would fall on the wrong people.
The Penn State situation requires solutions, but a tax on people not responsible for the crimes is not one of the answers.
Before you get too excited about Maule’s Paulian conversion, I suggest you read between the lines. Especially when he says this:
The economic cost of the crimes in question ought to fall on the perpetrators. … When someone worth $100 causes $1 million of damages, who pays? This nation too often cannot bring itself to impose economic penalties on wrongdoers who have more than adequate resources to compensate the victims of their bad decisions, so it’s even less likely that its justice system would, even if it could, require the perpetrators to pay for the impact of their decisions.
Alas, Mr. Maule isn’t really claiming that there is a limit on taxation, but rather calling for more taxation of wealthy “wrongdoers.”¹
¹ That the United States is the frivolous lawsuit capital of the world apparently causes Mr. Maule little consternation. He thinks there aren’t enough lawsuits. Tort law has been exploited by the left as a means of wealth-redistribution for decades. It’s one of the main reasons healthcare costs have skyrocketed in this country.